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I'm learning classical guitar theory from internet, i get free random courses video on the net.

I've tried to play some tabs that i found them on youtube, most tabs I've seen are very hard to play.. I just learned study 2 and 3 of Matteo Carcassi from a pdf. I'm a bit frustrated, i didn't found a full guided courses that allow get faster improvement..

In short, assume that i'm a very guitar beginner, what things should i learn in order:

  • Learning chords
  • Chord progression
  • Arpeggios
  • Learning Scales
  • Playing solo music

In addition of the previous list, do i need to master music sheet reading ?

Cheers.

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Music is also about rhythm. I don't see anything about the latter in your list..I would add some. –  user8829 Dec 21 '13 at 14:35
    
What types of rhythm exercises would you recommend? –  American Luke Dec 21 '13 at 16:27
    
Well...I am looking them myself. Now I am using the plan and content of rhythmmasters.org. And trying to implement those rhythms with my strumming or hybrid picking techniques. –  user8829 Dec 21 '13 at 17:30
    
Please leave thanks out of questions. An appropriate comment on the relevant answers would be OK, and better yet make sure to upvote :) –  Matthew Read Jan 8 at 21:16

6 Answers 6

up vote 9 down vote accepted

I think you've got a good list already, but I'd quibble with the in order part. I'd recommend splitting up your practice time to work on each of these fronts every day. So for a 1-hour practice, you might do

  • Practice yesterday's scale a few times, pick a new scale and practice it. ~ 10 min.
  • Put on your new favorite pop song and try to transcribe the chord progression (starting with the bass-line). ~ 10 min.
  • Play around with those chords and write down a few riffs. ~ 10 min.
  • Guitar Etudes. Carcassi, Sor, Aguado, Tarrega: all these guys have excellent collections of etudes which work your sight-reading, technique, and are very pretty. ~ 30 min.

For me personally, learning is most effective when it touches upon multiple interests. So to learn something about chord progressions, I start by trying to find a chord progression that I like. Then I'm much more motivated to do the hard work involved. That's also why I recommend a generous portion of just play in a practice. It should be fun.

And yes, I think reading the sheet music is essential. It opens up the whole catalog on imslp.org. But music that is edited for guitar has many helpful annotations in addition to the dots and beams. There should be the letters p, i, m, a (and rarely e) to indicate which right-hand finger to use to play the note. And there will be the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 to indicate which left-hand finger to use to fret the note. There will also be roman numerals III, IV, V, VII, to indicate where on the fret-board your left-hand index finger should be, and usually the letter C to indicate that the index finger needs to barre two or more strings at that fret. And where it's really necessary, there may be circled numbers which indicate exactly which string the note should be played on.

As you become familiar with the chord shapes on the fretboard and chord shapes in the notation, reading well-edited guitar music can be done quite easily. Actually playing the piece may be more or less challenging, though.

Edit: Keep going with the Carcassi, too. I think it's number 4 nope: number 16 that's my favorite. It's a 2-voiced pas-de-deux in F that really works your partial barres. And Carcassi's etude number 1 basically covers everything you need to know about the C major scale and arpeggios.

Edit: The subject of rhythm has come up in the comments. For scales, you want to play in a nice even time. Perhaps practice with a metronome a few times a week to check that you're playing evenly. But learning to use your ear requires some degree of learning to trust your ear. So I would not recommend always using the metronome. It can become a crutch. Classical music should have a clearly defined sense of time. But it should not necessarily be strictly rigid to the point of, well, being unmusical. (It's difficult to precisely quantify that last point. :))

The Etudes mentioned above will exercise your understanding and playing of rhythms as well as notes and technique.

Edit: You also mention wanting something like a "full guided course". What you're looking for, then is a method-book. There are many out there. My favorite, by Celedonio Romero, is out of print. I would like to recommend the Dover edition of Fernando Sor's technique, but I think the antiquated translation would be too formidable for a beginner. On the other hand, it does give you some commentary on his exercises and etudes, which you don't have without it.

For pure technique work, you should get a copy of Steve Vai's "10-hour workout" from Guitar World back in the 90s. It's priceless. He gives you a massive amount of material to practice on. Lots of copies available through google search. If you can find a scan from the magazine (or better still, purchase a back issue), it'll be much more readable than the ascii-tab versions. While the 10-hour workout is mostly focused on electric guitar playing, it can easily be adapted for classical. Instead of down-up alternate picking, alternate between two (or more) fingers: p-i-p-i- *i-m-i-m-* p-a-p-a- *p-i-m-a-* as appropriate. Instead of bends, do glissandos: slide gracefully into the upper (lower) note.

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Well, all of those are useful skills to have at some point, but through the lens of 'Never picked up a guitar before', I would tell you first to learn the basic motor skills needed, being picking/plucking, fretting and how to control your hands in a synchronous manner.

After that, get comfortable with the fretboard. In any playing, comfort is key, but that is taken to an extreme in classical playing. Personally, I would do things in this order:

  • learn the scales
  • get extremely comfortable with them
  • learn chords and progressions (The two usually go hand-in-hand).
  • learn to play arpeggios

By the time you get comfortable with those skills, you should be naturally coming up with solo material as you explore new ideas and sounds.

If you plan to play classical guitar, I would say the ability to read sheet music is pretty crucial. Tabs lack clarity in areas where sheet music doesn't, and classical can be very intricate, which may be lost in a tab. Its a useful skill to have either way if you intend to play ANY music, so I definitely would learn it if I were in your shoes.

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Invest into good beginner manual or teaching computer program, then let your manual to decide that to do next. With such scenario, most important decision you still need to make yourself is to determine if this book or program is competently prepared for the self learning. Maybe some ratings and, well, the price may help.

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This is my first post on this site, please bear with me if I'm doing something wrong.

Here's another near-absolute beginner speaking, so take what I'm saying with a bucket of salt. I will add to what others say, trying not to repeat them.

These are three things you can do to improve your playing.

  1. Get a teacher.
  2. Get a teacher.
  3. Get a teacher.

I cannot overemphasize it, really. I'm speaking from experience here. I've tried to do it on my own, and failed miserably. (I did manage to learn chords and accompany easy songs, but that's a far cry from playing classical guitar). With a teacher I'm making progress. You can find the same advice everywhere on the internet, site after site, forum after forum.

If you absolutely positively cannot get a teacher, get a method book. But get a modern method book! I hear modern books are good. I cannot vouch for any one personally. Back when I was trying to study on my own, I only had access to the old 19th and early 20th century ones like Pujol and Carcassi. They tend to be frustrating for novices (they were for me!) Avoid them. They can be good if you are a bit more experienced.

Follow the the book, study methodically, and go s-l-o-w-l-y. I mean, when you learn a piece, deliberately pick a tempo which is much much slower than required. Practice at that speed until you are very comfortable with it, then accelerate gradually. Learn to move your fingers precisely, rather than fast. You can always pick up speed later. If you go too fast from the start, you tend to make mistakes and learn them, and they become bad habits. You will have unlearn them at some point or another, which is painful.

Try to talk to more experienced players at every opportunity. Beg, bribe, bully or blackmail them to check your technique and correct your mistakes.

Some teachers offer lessons over video chat, consider taking those at least from time to time.

Watch guitar videos on the intertubes. Pick videos where hands are clearly visible. Ideally you want to watch as good players as possible playing as easy pieces as possible, so that you can analyse and emulate their technique.

Try to exercise for at least 3.5 hours a week, 7 is better. If you are serious enough to invest more time than that, definitely do get a teacher!

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Thank you for pointing out about getting a teacher, but i believe in self learning. I'm getting remarkable improvement since this topic! –  Smarty Twiti Jan 8 at 16:16
1  
@SmartyTwiti Whatever works for you! –  n.m. Jan 8 at 18:30

IMHO The longer you do metronome work the better. It does not have to be scales at first but just learning to play to a beat from the beginning will do wonders. It cannot be emphasised that the longer you stay at the low tempos the greater your progress will be.

Teachers need to emphasise that patience is key. If you do sloppy work while practicing your progress will be slow. You will shoot yourself in the foot.

A good theory teacher will teach you most of the things you mention. Get one he or she will teach you the nuts and bolts of music!

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Turn off the lights. Turn on some soft background music in a rhythm you enjoy. Apply fingertips to neck of guitar... and play. Do this once a day for 15min (or more). Rinse & repeat.

This is to engage your creativity -- not necessarily improve your actual skill, but I appreciate this as being as integral to playing any instrument as your technical ability.

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